Is milk bad for you? Is it just for babies? No – Gut health myths busted


We are crying over (spilled) milk, because we’re concerned about the number of people that have removed it from their diet unnecessarily.

Many strict vegans say that ‘milk is for babies’ or point out that humans are the only adult mammals to consume milk and that therefore it’s unnatural and unhealthy for us to do this. This is completely simplistic and mis-leading.

Should we not use any of the many life-saving medications that human ingenuity has invented, because other mammals don’t use them? Should we not drive cars because our horses don’t? 

Anyway, back to milk…it’s good stuff.

The nutrition low down on milk

  • Milk is a highly nutritious food and is very well tolerated in moderate amounts by most adults
  • Unbeknownst to them, most adults have some degree of lactose intolerance (75% of adults in fact), but most can enjoy dairy and lactose-containing foods in moderate amounts without getting any gut symptoms 
  • For people with IBS, servings of 100mls (= 4-5g lactose) are usually well-tolerated 
  • It’s a great source of protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals
  • Milk from pasture-fed cows has high levels of omega-3 oils, which are good for you
  • Studies have shown that people who include milk and cheese in their diet have a reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Claims that drinking too much milk can cause osteoporosis are not true

Foods for your gut bacteria

Fermented milk foods including yoghurt, cheese, kefir and buttermilk are some of the earliest examples of fermented foods eaten by humans and they’re good for your gut bacteria. Your gut bacteria love them in fact.

Cheese is actually very low in lactose and is very well tolerated if you have IBS.

You can of course get too much of any good thing – full fat milk and cheese are both high in saturated fats, so enjoy these in moderation. 

Bottom line? Include some dairy produce in your diet, it’s highly nutritious and most of it is very accessible and inexpensive.

 ©The Gut Experts 2021

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